Jan Kalsbeek - KlavecimbelsJan Kalsbeek - KlavecimbelsJan Kalsbeek - KlavecimbelsJan Kalsbeek - Klavecimbels
Curiosity started me building harpsichords and today it is as strong as it was when I began my first instrument in 1973. Every new harpsichord is a voyage of discovery. This is because of the manner in which I work.

It starts with designing the instrument. I base my design on one or more existing instruments of a certain builder or a school of building.

I don’t copy: I want to design the instrument the way that builder would have done with the materials available now and following the wishes of my client. I use the experience I gained from previous harpsichords I made. The process continues in the building phase: working on, I continually ask myself why the builder made the choices he made and that leads to all kinds of ideas, which I pursue.

I work from the whole, from which the details arise, and when I change a detail, all changes, so adjustments may be necessary again. On the one hand it is seeking, on the other hand it is to be inspired.

Because of this way of working I cannot make more than 2 to 3 instruments per year.

The result always turns out to be good: the last harpsichord always is the best I ever made. But I can only hear that when it is properly played upon for the first time, by someone who really can do that, when player and music merge and the instrument in fact disappears. That is the way I want to make my instruments: that one doesn’t hear the instrument, just music.


"I have played Mr. Kalsbeek’s instruments in several occasions: recitals, continuo playing for chamber music, opera performances. All his instruments are fine, solid and well characterized from the original model. Very easy to play and with a nice sound, Mr. Kalsbeek’s instruments are a good help for the modern performer’s life. "

Luca Guglielmi, Turin, Italy

"With great pleasure I have played instruments made by Jan Kalsbeek in concerts and recordings. His perfectionism and fine craftsmanship, combined with thorough knowledge of the construction of the original harpsichords can be heard - and seen - in his beautiful instruments. "

Jacques Ogg, Bunde, Nl.

"Jan has built a clutch of harpsichords for the outstanding hire and tuning professional Ken Smith, which I have had the pleasure of using. They are good, robust instruments with a tone that carries excellently in the opera house and support the voice. "

Luke Green

"Jan Kalsbeek was the craftsman who brought our Mietke harpsichord into being. Jan was easy to contact. He kept to our contract and delivered on time for our 2010-2011 season. Even though Jan has created other models of the Mietke, each instrument is unique. Our harpsichord fits our acoustical spaces like a dream. "

Robert G. Moore, board member and Senior Pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Houston, Tx, US

"I wanted to take a moment or two to thank you for the absolute pleasure I felt in playing your marvellous double-manual Mietke copy. It sang and danced with me for the whole evening of my recital, and it taught me a great deal as well. The best kind of instrument is the one that lets you express your artistic vision while revealing itself as a work of art. Thank you for your dedication to this craft. "

Mahan Esfahani, London